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Pitfalls of Using an Online Cohabitation Agreement Template

Posted on in Family Law

Santa Clara County cohabitation agreement lawyerMany Californians have a positive, do-it-yourself attitude. However, there are some areas in life where expert assistance is necessary, and drafting a cohabitation agreement is one of them. Cohabitation agreements can be used to protect the rights of unmarried couples, including in the event the couple splits up. There are many “fill in the blank” cohabitation agreement forms floating around on the internet, and some people might be tempted to use one in hopes of minimizing legal costs.

Although married spouses have many rights under the law, unmarried couples do not have these same rights. A cohabitation agreement can be crucial to ensure that both partners will avoid difficulties and disputes in the case of a breakup, so it absolutely must be thorough and complete. Some reasons why using an online cohabitation agreement template may not be the best idea include:

You Might Forget Something in Your Agreement

Cohabitation agreements cover a variety of issues, including:

  • Allocation of income and expenses during a relationship

  • Division of assets obtained while in the relationship, in the case of a breakup

  • Post-break up support, commonly called palimony

  • Inheritance rights upon the death of one partner

Everyone’s needs are different. You might find that you need a cohabitation agreement that addresses children you have together and whether one partner is entitled to financial compensation for sacrificing a career to raise them. The “fill in the blank” forms you find on the internet might not contain everything you need.

You Could Be Taken Advantage Of

Though you might find a cohabitation template online, the reality is that your partner could be getting legal advice on the side. He or she might know that the fill-in-the-blank form you use is disadvantageous to you in some way. The only way to fully protect your rights is to retain your own legal counsel.

The Template Could Be Inappropriate for California

A template you find online might be wonderful for a Florida relationship, but it may not conform to California law. Each state has its own laws regarding relationships, families, parents, and children, and your cohabitation agreement must satisfy California requirements. Only an attorney can advise you about California law.

Even worse, the template you find could be drafted by a non-lawyer. You really have no idea who has drafted a document you find online. The wording could be so poor that it may not even be legally-binding, which means the only thing you gain by using it is a false sense of security.

Contact a Los Gatos, CA Cohabitation Agreement Attorney

When is the best time to fill out a cohabitation agreement? This depends on your individual circumstances. For most people, there is little point to having an agreement in place if you are simply dating and trying to get to know each other. If anything, confronting a boyfriend or girlfriend with a cohabitation agreement could scare them off. Nevertheless, there comes a point where a couple becomes intertwined—romantically and financially. A Los Gatos family law attorney can help you determine the right time to draft and sign a cohabitation agreement. To fully protect your rights, contact the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca at 408-395-8822 and set up a free consultation today.


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